Tag: sheep

The House that Zack Built by Alison Murray

The House that Zack Built by Alison Murray

The House that Zack Built by Alison Murray (InfoSoup)

Zack built a house out of blocks outside under a tree. A fly buzzed by, the cat stalked the fly, then got more interested in the cream up high on a shelf. The dog was asleep when down fell the cream, knocked over by the cat who was still looking to catch that fly. The lambs in the field are calm and quiet, then the dog runs through still covered in cream and the sheep dash out of the field. Then Zack looks around, amazed at the mess of the farm. He jumped into action and set it all right. Then they all sat quietly and looked at the incredible house that Zack had built.

This British import is a cumulative tale that doesn’t solely stick to the traditional structure of building and building onto the length of the sentence with each new addition. Instead here it is the story itself that is the focus and the cumulative structure is used when it works and then merrily abandoned to make the storyline work better and to also make the book much more enjoyable to read. The result is a cumulative tale that will not leave you breathless or with a spinning head when shared aloud.

Murray’s art is simple and friendly. The illustrations will work well for a crowd since they are not filled with small details. Children will enjoy the cat in particular as it causes almost all of the problems that emerge.

There is a real satisfaction in this story of watching chaos happen and then having it set to rights. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: The Passover Lamb by Linda Elovitz Marshall

passover lamb

The Passover Lamb by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss

Miriam has been selected to sing the Four Questions at the seder, the special Passover meal, at her grandparent’s house.  She has been practicing over and over again.  When she discovers that Snowball, one of their ewes, is going to have a baby, the family wonders if it will disrupt their Passover plans.  Snowball has her lambs in time, but her third lamb is ignored and she refuses to nurse him.  Miriam is very worried for the little lamb, but also wants to head to the seder and sing her part.  So she comes up with a clever plan to care for the newborn lamb and be able to be with her extended family.  This Passover story is a gentle reminder about compassion and a beautiful introduction to Passover.

Marshall writes with a gentleness that weaves throughout the entire story.  She allows Miriam to really be the center of the story, her family members are important but Miriam is certainly the lead.  She is the one who discovers that the ewe is going to have a baby, bottle feeds the newborn lamb and figures out the solution, all on her own.  This is child-led compassion that comes from a deep and natural place.

Mai-Wyss’ art is done in watercolors. The results are rich and colorful, nicely capturing a small family farm.  Just as with the text, Miriam is often front and center in the illustrations.

A superb book about caring and compassion, this is a strong addition to any public library.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Books for Young Readers.

Board Book Reviews–Hello Friends Series by Emma Quay

sleep-tight-a-book-about-bedtime letsplayhouse 

puddlejumping yummy-ice-cream-a-book-about-sharing

Good Night, Sleep Tight by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Let’s Play House by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Puddle Jumping by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Yummy Ice Cream by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Four new board books welcome the youngest readers into a group of three friends.  There is Panda, Sheep and Owl, who are all different, enjoy different things, but manage to be the best of friends despite that.  The series has warm illustrations that are done with a mix of paint and fabric.  This lends a real richness and friendliness to them.  The text of the books is brief, humorous and engaging.  These are stories that are simple and great fun.

Good Night, Sleep Tight is a bedtime story.  The three friends decide to go camping in their sleeping bags.  They all settle in, but both Owl and Sheep are uncomfortable.  Only Panda is cozy, so the other two decide to join Panda in the one sleeping bag.

Let’s Play House has the friends building a play house together out of a blanket and some chairs.  But the house doesn’t work out so well, especially after Panda stands up to leave, taking the roof with him.  But all is not lost, as a new game is invented.

Puddle Jumping is about bravery.  Owl and Panda have great fun jumping over a big puddle the three friends discover.  But Sheep is scared to try, scared she will fall on her bottom and get hurt.  Eventually Sheep does try to jump the puddle, and she ends up having a lot of fun in an unexpected way.

Yummy Ice Cream is about sharing.  Sheep and Panda both have ice cream cones that are very yummy.  But Owl doesn’t have any.  The three friends find a very inventive way of making two ice cream cones into more.

As you can see, children will recognize their own play and activities in these books.  These are modern, stylish board books for the youngest of children.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copies received from Penguin Books.

Mathilda and the Orange Balloon

Mathilda and the Orange Balloon by Randall de Seve, illustrated by Jen Corace.

Mathilda’s world is small, only a few things in it: gray skies, green grass, green barn, gray stones, and gray sheep.  It was all ok, until she saw the bright orange balloon float past.  Then all she wanted to be was an orange balloon herself.  First, she made herself as round as the balloon.  The hardest part is turning herself orange.  The other sheep offer up ideas of things that are orange: fierce tigers, the sun, autumn leaves.  Mathilda imagined herself orange and round as hard as she could and suddenly, there she was, a Mathilda-shaped orange balloon.  That was when the lives of all of the sheep changed.

A wonderful book about the power of dreams and imagination, this book is simple and delightful.  De Seve’s writing is straight-forward and plain, offering a wonderful contrast between it and the subject matter.  Corace’s illustrations use white space to great advantage, emphasizing the simplicity of Mathilda’s world until imagination enters it.  Her sheep have great personality, with winning facial expressions.

Bravo for such a creative little book that takes imagination into reality with no hesitation.  This will make any sheep story time less gray and more colorful!  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Harper Collins.

Also reviewed by Creative Literacy.

Feeding the Sheep

Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren

Follow the process from sheep to sweater through the eyes of a young girl.  The book starts with feeding the sheep corn and hay on a wintry day.  Then it moves on to shearing, washing the wool, drying the wool, carding it, spinning the yarn, dyeing the yarn, and then knitting it.  Each step is done by the little girl’s mother to the refrain of “What are you doing?” The book uses gentle rhymes and repetition to show the steps as well as detailed illustrations where the young girl gets involved too.

This book is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers who will enjoy realizing where their sweaters come from.  The style of writing is approachable and gentle.  Nicely the book comes full circle back to the feeding of sheep, making the point that the cycle of sheep to sweater continues.  U’Ren’s illustrations are filled with homey touches and small details, yet they will work well with a group.  A wonderful touch is the changing of the seasons throughout the book, often glimpsed only out of the window.  This again underlines the cyclical nature of farming.

Short sentences with plenty of rhythm and repetition, make this a friendly choice.  It is also a joy to read aloud.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.